Ikea Hack Alert…Bench seating and dog bed

So where to put two monstrous dogs and two truck tire sized dog beds? ANY PLACE YOU HAVE A TILE FLOOR!

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This is why we created our previous two Murphy dog beds and strategically placed them adjacent to our first home’s kitchen nook and back slider.

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We’ve always loved little houses, easy to clean, less maintenance, however the obvious problem is less space. We have a “no dogs in bedrooms” policy because of shedding, and snoring. Also our two bruisers are magnets for anything dusty, dirty or muddy.

Another big reason, since we live near the river, wildlife ventures into our neighborhood quite often. Which means no sleeping outdoors or in the detached garage, where they can bark all night. Also when your husband has had to defend the pups from toddler sized raccoons, its best to keep the dogs indoors for safety sake.

In our new home we’ve had to be uber creative, since we lack extra seating in our tiled kitchen/dining area. We love to entertain and we wanted to create a seating bench/built in. Unfortunately the hubby had a good point, the dogs are getting older and to create a custom dog bed/seating bench may not be logical or economical.

Hence I found inspiration once more with Ikea furniture, and created our Seating Bench/Trundle Dog bed.

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We bought another Ikea Hemnes day bed, (the same one we have in the office/guest) and hacked it to create a dog trundle bed:

In progress pic

Here is the inspiration and how we did it…

We utilized this odd, space near the backslider, for the dog beds. However not only were they ugly, but we lost critical floor space. (They also wrestled over the favorite bed)

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After we bought the first day bed we were able to figure out how to hack the trundle pretty easily. First follow the instructions to create the bottom trundle and drawer component, minus the slats, but still attach the  metal braces as the directions describe.

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This is critical, now measure the inside/interior edges of the bottom drawer component to ensure the plywood you purchase (separately from a hardware store) will fit perfectly inside and atop the wheel braces. It should look like the following picture. We also recommend buying a thicker plywood if you have abnormally large dogs like ours.

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Using the extra slats, we cut two of them to fit the entire length of the metal braces. (with a small hand saw) Use small wood screws (1/2″ phil mod, zinc lath self drills, from Home Depot) and a cordless drill to attach them through the metal brace holes. The reason we did this was to protect our rambunctious dogs from being sliced by the metal braces. The slats are made of soft wood and helped create a rounded edge.

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Once completed it looked like this…

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With the following materials/tools, we only used the front of the drawers and extra slats to drill and glue them to the front of the day bed. (The staples and staple gun were for upholstering the bench seat)

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As you can see we cut two additional slats to fit the bed’s length and were careful to not drill through the front of the drawers. We made sure the edge of the drawer’s back was coated in glue before drilling them to the slats.

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Next we upholstered the bench seat. Using very light weight and sanded sheet wood, we had cut to the dimensions of the daybed. We set an old ikea curtain on the floor, the sultan florvog mattress on top of it, then the plywood. We folded the curtain over and stapled it to the plywood.

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Finally Seating bench/Trundle dog bed complete! We placed a second sultan florvog mattress for the actual dog bed. These mattresses are fabulous, the covers come off easily and are washable. Also we can conveniently protect them with standard fitted twin sheets and waterproof covers should we ever need to. We plan to upgrade the bench seating with a different color scheme in the coming weeks. However we’re waiting until we figure out the kitchen’s future colors.

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PS. We made sure the dogs actually “liked” their new bed before we started hacking. We might recommend you let your dogs give it a test drive first before the step of gluing, cutting and drilling slats. As well, ours like to sneak onto the upholstered bench so we protect it with a fitted sheet and plastic cover when not in use.

Here are the little hams posing for the camera during the test drive. (I swear we don’t pose them, they literally look and act like twins on their own)

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How to display dog decor and not be that “crazy dog lady”

Ok, our friends know we’re big fans, of the wet noses and furry kids…However we don’t want the house decor “dog centric.” Therefore to clear up any confusion here are some of my dog decor tips without being that “crazy dog lady”

1. Stake out one small corner of your house. In this case we have this over-sized ugly built in. It was just this wall of orange shelves. See before pic:

built in before pic

(Don’t judge this was before we moved in. We are still trying to figure out what we’re going to do with it. Unfortunately we’ve found the extra storage, shelves and desk are pretty functional, so a complete knock down is not an option right now)

2. Mix in and re-use some of your other home decor so it doesn’t seem entirely dog focused.  Rather think dog, use decor that reminds you of them. Our dogs are all about chasing squirrels and sticks so I displayed a little metal squirrel nutcracker grandma gave us and added a large piece of polished wood.

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3. Why not give it function? Display those dog treats proudly! Your furry kids need a cookie jar too. (We reused some of our wedding cookie jars for dog treats and bones)

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Sweet! Dog decor subtly displayed and ugly built in looking a bit better…

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Privacy Screens Part Deux!

After Privacy Screens Part 1, the second half of the privacy screens/pole hider/dog agility course project was to beautify these random posts and wire with climbing vines. Vines that would add lushness and color to the back of the garden, and also hide dog messes.

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The only obstacle was that we needed vines hardy enough to withstand Sutter (oh yes, the marking already started) and the Sacramento summer heat (it reached 106 last weekend).

We already had great success with trumpet vine at our last house. We also knew our dogs never touched the stuff. (they preferred tearing up the lavender and flax) Luckily for us we experienced the puppy stages in our old home with non-toxic plants.

The plant is fairly lush throughout the year except in the winter. Also the orange flowers were so tropical we hope to fake a Hawaiian paradise in Sacramento.

Green Acres nursery in Sacramento is one of our favorites for the non-generic plant varietals not found normally in big box stores. Plus they have fabulous landscaping displays where we can get inspiration and help.

We settled on actually three different honey suckle varieties along with the trumpet vine.privacy screen pt2 001 privacy screen 002 privacy screen 003

Also if you are considering planting a vine and have a plant eating puppy around, Honeysuckle may be the way to go. According to the ASPCA Plant list it was considered non-toxic. However you know your dog best, so maybe living with a backyard desert for a few years til they grow up is the way to go.

Total cost for 5 vines $62.50…(We could have waited for a sale but were impatient to get the plants in the ground before the July heat sets in.)

Next we used the post hole digger again (the fastest way to dig holes for plants.) Centering the vine  in front of each wire screen. You don’t need more than one vine since they will gradually grow in nice and thick.

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We placed the two trumpet vines in front of the outer screens (#1 and #5) since they are the hardiest and could probably take the most Sutter “marking” abuse. The honeysuckle were placed in the middle screens (#2, #3, #4) Be sure to break up the plant’s bottom roots a bit after removing it from the pot, place in hole and cover with soil. Finally give it a nice soak… Hubs gets a cameo because he was in charge of clean up and watering. (Once more ignore Stumpy the diseased tree and brown spots in the grass…all are on the project list)

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Here’s a nice after shot of our little ones growing away…The lillies wanted in on the picture action.

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We promise to post pictures along the way as we continue to “dogscape” the backyard.